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brad131a4
brad131a4 Reader
4/12/16 12:09 a.m.

Well from the sound of it the timing still sounds like it's still off. The bottom ends on these cars are pretty healthy. You can replace the rod bearings with the motor in the car. Did that on one of my cars and got another 60k on the motor before selling in. The crank wasn't even scored at all. If you do that repair make sure you use oil with zztp in it. If you don't the rings most likely won't seat. My guess is the oil in it now doesn't. Not sure what you picked up as the picture didn't work for me. Just as long as it isn't a miata.

NOHOME
NOHOME PowerDork
4/12/16 6:02 a.m.

How did you get the busted crossmember bolt out?

The engines are easy enough to rebuild, but it will still cost more than the purchase cost of the car.

TED_fiestaHP
TED_fiestaHP New Reader
4/12/16 8:20 a.m.

I wouldn't give up on it just yet, at least figure out what is really wrong. Do a compression check, then maybe a leak down, so you can see where it actually leaks. One thing to check, valve lash, that could cause some lack of compression. If it just needs rod bearings, that would be easy enough. Most of the other stuff looks like a lot of small projects.

It's a Fiat, most of it is fairly easy to fix, and it has lots of potential. From the factory most Fiats were under powered, but have lots of potential for more power.

Fupdiggity
Fupdiggity New Reader
4/12/16 8:32 a.m.

It's currently running Rotella-T 15W40 diesel oil, which is what I've heard these cars like and I believe should be correct for seating the rings. I did have 15W40 Valvoline high mileage synthetic blend for about 40 of the 60 I put on the car, because I'm an idiot, and it was on sale.

I checked the timing belt alignment more times than I can count, I'm confident it's on right. I also adjusted the valves, replaced the points (had a spared distributor) and tried two step colder plugs.

Right now it's going to sit until the oil analysis is back, if it is a rod bearing I don't want to put any more miles on it and risk damaging the crank. Good to know the bearings can be replaced with the engine in the car, as that sounds like a (relatively) cheap & quick repair vs rebuilding the motor. It's not that I'm opposed to rebuilding it, it's just with the current state of the cosmetics it's hard to justify the cost.

Fupdiggity
Fupdiggity New Reader
4/12/16 8:40 a.m.

In reply to NOHOME:

It's a bit of a hack job. I had to cut away part of the seat brace, and didn't do a good job completely drilling out the spot welds so I mangled the crosmemember a bit removing it. The stud was also tack welded on so it was a bear get out and did some floor pan damage.

I haven't quite decided how to repair it yet, but I'm thinking I'll make a simple "L" shaped piece of sheet metal to fit over the two mangle bits and reinforce the area before welding the crosmember notch back in.

Currently I just stuck a bolt & washers in place of the stud to hold the center bearing.

NOHOME
NOHOME PowerDork
4/12/16 8:47 a.m.
Fupdiggity wrote: In reply to NOHOME: It's a bit of a hack job. I had to cut away part of the seat brace, and didn't do a good job completely drilling out the spot welds so I mangled the crosmemember a bit removing it. The stud was also tack welded on so it was a bear get out and did some floor pan damage. I haven't quite decided how to repair it yet, but I'm thinking I'll make a simple "L" shaped piece of sheet metal to fit over the two mangle bits and reinforce the area before welding the crosmember notch back in. Currently I just stuck a bolt & washers in place of the stud to hold the center bearing.

Once I really figured out what was going on, I figured it was going to be a pain to resolve.

If you have a MIG welder, why not weld in a chunk of 1/4" plate with a hole that is drilled and tapped to accept a bolt from below?

brad131a4
brad131a4 Reader
4/12/16 9:24 a.m.

Shoot did it again. I need to stop posting late at night. You need the additive ZDDP for the break in period or the rings won't seat. Looked up the oil you're using and it would be ok for once the engine is broke in it doesn't have the correct amount to break in the rings. That's why most of the newer oils don't work well in older engines they have gotten rid of the additives that are bad for the environment but are needed buy the engines to function properly.

As for the bolt I'd make a plate to add a little extra support and weld a bolt to it and then to the car and replace the piece you cut out to access it. For some reason fiat likes to use captured bolts in a few critical areas such as the front cross member. Those can spin inside the little metal box they have the head of the bolt in in the frame. If you do have to remove this and you will if you have to pull the pan. Make sure you clean the rust off the studs on the bottom of the frame that hold the cross member. Having fixed a few of these over the years it is not a fun or easy task but it can be done.

Another thing have you cleaned out the gas tank? That and a new filter will do wonders. Just reread what you posted and it sounds familiar to a problem a friend of mine was having. Tank was corroded inside and we had to change the fuel filter after about 5 minutes of driving it was that bad. ended up just yanking the tank and putting in a new one that fixed the problem.

Fupdiggity
Fupdiggity New Reader
4/12/16 9:52 a.m.

In reply to brad131a4:

Good to know on the oil, I'll look into a ZDDP additive.

The PO replaced the tank and rubber lines although it has spent a few years sitting since. I have ran at least a 1/2 tank through it and the gas smelled fine prior to me filling it up. I can put a new filter on it just to be sure.

At one point I was suspecting a lean condition causing the knock. I sprayed starter fluid around the engine bay looking for any intake leaks and didn't find any. Curious thing is, when I sprayed starter fluid into the carb the engine bogged down. That is the opposite condition I have experienced in the past. The only thing I can suspect would cause that is if the engine is running rich, at least at idle. The plugs look great, ash white and no signs of detonation or overheating.

Fupdiggity
Fupdiggity New Reader
4/12/16 10:22 a.m.

In reply to brad131a4:

Oh, and it's totally a Miata.

NOHOME
NOHOME PowerDork
4/12/16 11:03 a.m.

brad131a4
brad131a4 Reader
4/12/16 11:23 a.m.

I can forgive that cause you want to drive a convertible and you still have the fiat No Home stop being an enabler dang it! With the starter fluid issue it sounds like one of the jet's may be clogged in the carb. Might be a good thing to rebuild it as well. If you can it might be a good time to update to a better carb as well. Especially if it hasn't been done by the P.O. I also like to get the clear inline filters and run one right before the line goes into the carb. Easy way to check if there is gunk in the fuel and they are cheap.

Fupdiggity
Fupdiggity New Reader
4/12/16 11:27 a.m.

In reply to NOHOME:

It was bound to happen eventually. Although they are fairly similar vehicles on paper, they drive completely different. Granted there is 20 years between them and the Fiat is in a less than perfect state of tune. I always hear people talking about the NA being "raw", seems pretty refined to me.

Either way it should be a fun summer car and allow me to get my sports car fix while the Fiat is down.

Trevor

jgrewe
jgrewe Reader
4/12/16 9:17 p.m.

My 2 centesimo on usually getting home when driving a FIAT: Keep a spare ignition module in the glove box. Those things get baked by the exhaust and will give you fits.

Fupdiggity
Fupdiggity New Reader
5/3/16 10:19 a.m.

Got my oil analysis back from Blackstone. Unfortunately my decision to run leaded gas has made the oil analysis inconclusive as to where the lead is coming from. I think the next step is to drain the fuel (there's still a 1/2 tank left of 50:50 91 octane/110 leaded race fuel), change the oil, & put a few dozen more miles on it before sending another sample in. I'm also going to hook up a mechanical oil pressure gauge to verify oil pressure. The stock one shows less than 30 psi on cold start, but I don't trust it.

The rally Cressida will happily drink the Fiat's leftover fuel, any issue running leaded fuel through a modern-ish fuel injection system?

Side note, I had to change the oil in the Miata last night, which meant waking up the Fiat from hibernation under it's sleeping tarp. Once I woke it up it didn't want to go back to bed, so I had to drive it to work this morning. After a week with the Miata it was fun to hop back in the Fiat. It drives pretty terrible in comparison (mostly due to it's current state of disrepair) but that engine makes noises the Miata can only dream of.

Before I bought the Fiat I was cross shopping the two, and figured the Miata would replace the Fiat in my driveway. Now that I have both I can see they are very different vehicles. All I can think about now is a Fiat powered locost. I guess I should get the engine figured out first though.

Jumper K. Balls
Jumper K. Balls UberDork
5/3/16 4:02 p.m.
Fupdiggity wrote: The rally Cressida will happily drink the Fiat's leftover fuel, any issue running leaded fuel through a modern-ish fuel injection system?

It will destroy oxygen sensors within minutes in my experience.

Anytime we take one of our vintage race cars to the dyno we end up killing their wideband within 4 pulls.

Fupdiggity
Fupdiggity New Reader
5/6/16 5:05 p.m.

Thanks for the heads up Jumper, I'll keep it out of my other cars.

Fupdiggity
Fupdiggity New Reader
6/4/16 8:52 p.m.

Sorry it's been slow. I've been pretty busy adventuring lately and haven't really spent any time on the car. I drove it to work a few times just for fun, and I every time I drive it I feel more like it's a rod bearing thats knocking.

I've been kicking around the idea of doing the 24 hours of LeMons with a few friends, so we opted to go check out the B.F.E. GP in Deer Trail, CO today. One thing led to another, and it looks like were buying a race car. Tomorrow this beautiful 83 RX-7 will be coming home.

It's got GRM stickers on it, anyone recognize it?

Since I don't really have much motivation for the Fiat it looks like I'll put her up for sale to make room for the new race car. The plan is to order a set of rod bearings, attempt to throw them in with the engine still in and see if I can fix the knock before selling it. Any suggestions before I get started?

brad131a4
brad131a4 Reader
6/4/16 10:21 p.m.

To check out which cylinder is easy. While running the car pull off one of the spark plug wires till the knocking stops. Did this same thing back in the 80's on a 131 as a poor college student.

Rod started knocking on my way back to Seattle from Spokane on a Friday night. Figured out it was a rod bearing Saturday and found one place open that had a set. Only problem was it was a transition year for the motor so the oil holes in the bearings were in the wrong location.

Got them anyways and used my dad's drill press and drilled and chamfered the holes in the correct area. Pull the pan in the street in front of parents house. Plastigaged them for proper clearance and bolted them up. Got another 60k out of the motor with out problems until I traded it for a ford Cortina in the early 90's

Made it back to Spokane sunday night for class Monday at 7am

Fupdiggity
Fupdiggity New Reader
6/4/16 10:56 p.m.

In reply to brad131a4:

Since i've never been in the bottom end of an engine it's stupid question time. I assume the plastiguage is used to verify clearances on the rod bearings? If so I gather the correct process is to pull the bearings, inspect the crank, and if it looks good use a plastiguage to verify the clearances with the current bearings are within spec. If so, I can order a set of standard size bearings, if the clearances are too great because of a worn crank, I would need to compensate with undersize bearings?

NOHOME
NOHOME PowerDork
6/5/16 7:41 a.m.
Fupdiggity wrote: In reply to brad131a4: Since i've never been in the bottom end of an engine it's stupid question time. I assume the plastiguage is used to verify clearances on the rod bearings? If so I gather the correct process is to pull the bearings, inspect the crank, and if it looks good use a plastiguage to verify the clearances with the current bearings are within spec. If so, I can order a set of standard size bearings, if the clearances are too great because of a worn crank, I would need to compensate with undersize bearings?

If the clearances are too large, you need to machine the crank to a new known dimension and use matching bearings.

Assuming this is a Hail Marry repair...

Pull it apart, have a look at the journal, and unless you see Armageddon, put new standard size bearings in and cross your fingers. You want the surface behind the bearing to be clean and oil free when you put new bearings in.

BrokenYugo
BrokenYugo UltimaDork
6/5/16 9:49 a.m.

You pull the rod caps, if the journals look OK (smooth, no scoring or anything nasty like that, if nasty, rebuild time) you check the back of the bearing for STD or an oversize number (or measure the crank), then pop in new bearings of the correct size(don't forget the assembly lube), you need a good torque wrench to tighten the rod bolts. This is a common thing to do on Triumph 1300/1500 engines, they're known to burn through rods and thrusts quickly. More of a crossed fingers sort of repair outside of that engine though, if there is a lot of glitter in the oil pan you're probably boned.

brad131a4
brad131a4 Reader
6/6/16 12:22 a.m.

Well I drove over 200 miles with the rod knock and the crank journals for the rods looked just fine. Now the bearings on the other hand were messed up. Never could find out why they went. Motor leaked a little oil from the valve covers which is normal but it wasn't enough to loose maybe a 1/4 of a quart of oil between changes.

If the journals are scored yea that's a tear it apart and fixit repair there. Good luck with the repair.

Fupdiggity
Fupdiggity New Reader
6/17/16 8:18 p.m.

So I failed. I got the oil pan loosened & attempted to wrangle it off by raising the motor slightly, no luck. Second attempt was to drop the subframe. I started with the PS suspension and realized quickly that any work in there would involve replacing too many parts, I was headed for some serious scope creep. I decided that while better men may be able to do rods with the engine in the car, I couldn't. I buttoned it all back up, put the interior back together and tossed it on CL. I started house hunting this week and figured the extra cash could be useful.

Here's the rub, after seeing it with all of it's interior bits back together and taking it for a quick drive to snap some ad photos, it started to tug at my heart strings again.

Now someone is interested in buying it and I don't know if I want to let it go. The extra money would certainly be useful towards a down payment, but if I end up in a house in the next few months, having my own garage will re-invigorate my little projects as I can chip away at them. Plus, where I'm looking is out of biking distance to work, this would make a great occasional commuter car.

I'm sitting on the fence and could use a shove. Let it sit (possibly for a few months) until I have my own, unshared garage or let it go now for the paltry sum of 1200?

jharry3
jharry3 New Reader
6/17/16 8:41 p.m.

My brother had one of these back in the late '70's/early '80's. Very pretty little car.
Black with a red leather interior. Only issues he had were constantly chasing electrical problems.
One day some upstanding citizen backed a pickup truck over it in a parking lot. Not pretty.
He had it fixed and sold it.
The girl who bought it didn't change the title over. 3 months later the cops came to the house to arrest my brother for a hit and run. Fortunately my grandpa was locally influential, he went out and talked to the cops so they believed my brother when he showed them his copy of the bill of sale with the name and address of the person who bought it. Fun times.

Fupdiggity
Fupdiggity New Reader
6/17/16 8:54 p.m.

In reply to jharry3:

This might be one of my favorite parts of older cars, everyone has a story.

I've sold more than a few old beaters and always fear this type of scenario. One of them was a free blazer I got from a friend. I fixed a few things and promptly sold it for $800 to a guy named "Douggie." Well with a name like that he didn't disappoint. I got a call from him a few months later that he never changed the title over (had been driving it w/o insurance or plates) and tried to re-sell the car but the DMV wasn't buying it. I had to meet the new owner (she only wanted the car because it was pearlescent purple) at the DMV & get a new title printed out & signed over.

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